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Chapter 6

How We Study Cells

How We Study Cells

1. Distinguish between magnification and resolving power.

° Magnification is the ratio of an object’s image to its real size.

° Resolving power is a measure of image clarity.

1. Describe the principles, advantages, and limitations of the light microscope, transmission electron microscope,
and scanning electron microscope.

• Electron microscopes reveal organelles that are impossible to resolve with the light microscope. However, electron
microscopes can only be used on dead cells.
• Light microscopes do not have as high a resolution, but they can be used to study live cells.
• Transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) are used mainly to study the internal ultrastructure of cells. A TEM aims an
electron beam through a thin section of the specimen.
• Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are useful for studying surface structures. The SEM has great depth of field,
resulting in an image that seems three-dimensional.

1. Describe the major steps of cell fractionation and explain why it is a useful technique.

• Fractionation begins with homogenization, gently disrupting the cell.

• The homogenate is spun in a centrifuge to separate heavier pieces into the pellet while lighter particles remain in the
• Cell fractionation prepares isolates of specific cell components.
• This enables the functions of these organelles to be determined, especially by the reactions or processes catalyzed by their

A Panoramic View of the Cell

1. Distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

• In a prokaryotic cell, the DNA is concentrated in the nucleoid without a membrane separating it from the rest of the cell.
• In eukaryote cells, the chromosomes are contained within a membranous nuclear envelope.

1. Explain why there are both upper and lower limits to cell size.

2. Explain the advantages of compartmentalization in eukaryotic cells.

The Nucleus and Ribosomes

3. Describe the structure and function of the nuclear envelope, including the role of the pore complex.
4. Briefly explain how the nucleus controls protein synthesis in the cytoplasm.
5. Explain how the nucleolus contributes to protein synthesis.
6. Describe the structure and function of a eukaryotic ribosome.
7. Distinguish between free and bound ribosomes in terms of location and function.

The Endomembrane System

8. List the components of the endomembrane system, and describe the structure and functions of each
9. Compare the structure and functions of smooth and rough ER.
10. Explain the significance of the cis and trans sides of the Golgi apparatus.
11. Describe the cisternal maturation model of Golgi function.
12. Describe three examples of intracellular digestion by lysosomes.
13. Name three different kinds of vacuoles, giving the function of each kind.

Other Membranous Organelles

14. Briefly describe the energy conversions carried out by mitochondria and chloroplasts.
15. Describe the structure of a mitochondrion and explain the importance of compartmentalization in
mitochondrial function.
16. Distinguish among amyloplasts, chromoplasts, and chloroplasts.
17. Identify the three functional compartments of a chloroplast. Explain the importance of compartmentalization
in chloroplast function.
18. Describe the evidence that mitochondria and chloroplasts are semiautonomous organelles.
19. Explain the roles of peroxisomes in eukaryotic cells.

The Cytoskeleton
20. Describe the functions of the cytoskeleton.
21. Compare the structure, monomers, and functions of microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments.
22. Explain how the ultrastructure of cilia and flagella relates to their functions.

Cell Surfaces and Junctions

23. Describe the basic structure of a plant cell wall.
24. Describe the structure and list four functions of the extracellular matrix in animal cells.
25. Explain how the extracellular matrix may act to integrate changes inside and outside the cell.
26. Name the intercellular junctions found in plant and animal cells and list the function of each type of junction.